University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Schmelzer v. New York ED-NY-0003
Docket / Court 01–CV–1864JSARL ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Education
Case Summary
On March 27, 2001, several children with disabilities, by and through their parents, filed a lawsuit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The ... read more >
On March 27, 2001, several children with disabilities, by and through their parents, filed a lawsuit under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Plaintiffs, represented by the Long Island Advocacy Center and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants' delay in evaluating and assigning students with disabilities to proper classrooms caused these students irreparable harm with regards to their education. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that although the Defendants had been in compliance with IDEA in years past, they had fallen behind in giving timely decisions for appeals cases. While the Defendants had given timely decisions in over 90% of all appeals cases during the 1990s, by 2001, they were only giving timely decisions in 2% of all such cases.

On October 1, 2003, the Court (Judge Joanna Seybert) issued an opinion granting the Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the § 1983 and IDEA claims, and dismissing the Rehabilitation Act claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Judge Seybert noted that although the number of appeals cases had increased by over 20% in recent years, the Defendants were still required to comply with the terms of IDEA. She then entered an injunction certifying the class and requiring the Defendants to comply with the 30 day requirement for decisions of appeals. In order to assure the Defendants' compliance, the injunction also provided for 60 months of monitoring, during which the Court would retain jurisdiction for complaints of noncompliance. The Defendants were also required to pay the monitor's fee, and over $75,000 in attorney's fees and costs.

On January 16, 2009, the monitor submitted her final report, which recommended that the Court should not extend the monitoring period for this case. The Court agreed with her recommendation and closed the case on March 13, 2009.

Joshua Arocho - 07/27/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
General
Individualized planning
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Commissioner of Education of the State of New York
Half Hollow Hills Central School District
New York City Board of Education
Smithtown Central School District
State Board of Education
State of New York
Plaintiff Description All children living in New York State who meet the following dual criteria: (1) they are or will be parties to an appeal from the determination of an impartial hearing officer to the New York State Education Department, and (2) their appeals have not or will not be decided by the SRO within thirty days following the State Education Department's receipt of the request for review of the IHO decision.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2003 - 2008
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:01−cv−01864 (E.D.N.Y.) 03/13/2009
ED-NY-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order 10/01/2003 (363 F.Supp.2d 453) (E.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0003-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judgment for Attorney Fees and Costs 05/31/2006 (E.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/13/2009 (E.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Seybert, Joanna (E.D.N.Y.)
ED-NY-0003-0002 | ED-NY-0003-0003 | ED-NY-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berger, Deborah R. (New York)
ED-NY-0003-9000
Steen, Pamela L. (New York)
ED-NY-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feldman, Jacob S. (New York)
ED-NY-0003-9000
Grumet, Lisa Fleming (New York)
ED-NY-0003-9000
Pernick, Ralph (New York)
ED-NY-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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